Frequently Asked Questions:
Qi, pronounced “chee”, is loosely translated as energy. It can be used interchangeably with blood when referring to its function in the body, but it also has functions separate from the blood. There is qi in all things just like there are whirring fields of electrons in all matter. Qi, like energy, cannot be created or destroyed, simply transferred.
Acupuncture is the manipulation of qi/blood. In the body, qi nourishes all the organs, muscles, tendons, bones, skin, everything! It brings oxygen and nutrients to tissue and removes waste. It activates the immune system and promotes healing. Qi makes nerves fire and sends signals to the brain to adjust hormones, neurotransmitters, enzymes and other chemicals to balance mental and physical functions.
Acupuncture needles are often not even felt on insertion! Occasionally you may experience a brief small pinch, which will dissipate seconds after insertion. Points on the hands and feet tend to be the most sensitive, but even the most sensitive point on the most sensitive patient will only elicit momentary discomfort. New patients are always surprised by how painless and deeply relaxing the experience is.
Acupuncture feels different to everyone and each session and each point may feel different. You may experience warmth, tingling, pressure, or a slight ache like a sore muscle being massaged at points of insertion. This is called a “qi” sensation. You may feel these same sensations in places where there are no needles. This is the connection between channels. Most people feel very relaxed during and after sessions. Some people feel more energized after their session. You will have to experience it for yourself!
You can look forward to all the comforts of The Amaluna Experience.
Acupuncture needles are solid, stainless steel, sterile, disposable single-use needles. They are nothing like the hypodermic needles used to draw blood or give vaccinations. Those needles are much larger and hollow to allow fluids to pass through. Acupuncture needles are solid, thin and flexible. You may not even feel them on insertion, and while I recommend you not make large movements while needles are inserted, you do not need to remain perfectly still during treatment.
Yes! While acupuncture needles, which are thin and bendy like kitty whiskers, are unlike the other needles used in Western medicine, there are non-needle options. I offer many other modalities: cupping, gua sha, auricular therapy, essential oils, moxibustion, and Functional Medicine Consults all of which are effective and needle-free options for holistic healthcare.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are extremely safe. When a properly trained licensed acupuncturist performs your treatment, there are virtually no negative side-effects, and minimum risk.
Your safety and well-being is my primary concern! Because needles are sterile and single-use, the risk of contagion or infection is almost zero.
In a study of more than 34,000 treatments performed, no serious adverse events (defined as events that required patient admission to a hospital; led to permanent disability; or resulted in death) were noted. Researchers stated, “The conclusion that acupuncture is a very safe intervention in the hands of a competent practitioner seems justified on the evidence available. While the risks of acupuncture cannot be discounted, it certainly seems, in skilled hands, one of the safer forms of medical intervention.”
For more information about the safety of acupuncture: http://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20010904/acupuncture-treatment-is-safe or
Yes! Acupuncture is a fantastic treatment option for many pregnancy-related concerns such as nausea, low back pain, headaches, insomnia or mood swings. Certain acupuncture points are avoided or used during different stages of pregnancy. Licensed acupuncturists know which points to use throughout your pregnancy to enhance your health and keep both mother and fetus safe.
Acupuncture is very effective at treating a wide range of diseases and symptoms, but it will not work in all cases for all people. Most problems will respond in 4-8 sessions. If improvement has not been noticed in this period of time, I will refer you to someone who may be better able to help you. The longer you have experienced your current symptoms, the longer it may take to resolve; however, this is not always the case and many people respond very quickly. Diet and herbal therapy greatly increase your healing capacity and will yield quicker results when combined with acupuncture. Read What Acupuncture Treats for a list of conditions.
Learn how to make the most of your acupuncture sessions: Make Acupuncture Work for YOU
I recommend a minimum of 5 sessions. While some acute problems may resolve more quickly, this is the minimum number of sessions needed to create some momentum and “kick-start” your healing process. Chronic conditions/pain that has been ongoing for many months/years may require more time. You should expect to see improvement within 4-8 sessions. For stubborn problems, you may see improvement in secondary symptoms or areas of your life first –like sleep and energy level –before your main area of concern improves. Commitment, patience, and a desire to be involved in your healing process are crucial for success.
Learn how to make the most of your acupuncture sessions: Make Acupuncture Work for YOU
Individual responses will vary. Acupuncture treatments are cumulative. You might notice improvement after your first treatment, or it may take several sessions. If you do notice improvement, it will likely be shorter lived for your first few sessions, and increase in length as treatments progress. Consistency is key. We are retraining your body to function at an optimal level and each treatment helps extend the length of your results. Ultimately, acupuncture treatment results are very long-term with changes to diet and lifestyle, as we will get to the root of the issue.
Tipping is not expected or necessary. The cost of your treatment is inclusive.
Details on using Insurance for Acupuncture at Amaluna Acupuncture & Wellness.
Some insurance policies cover acupuncture. I will call to verify coverage and check benefits for you. You, the patient, are responsible for your deductible, copay and any unpaid balance after insurance payment. Should your insurance carrier request additional information, we will gladly submit the paperwork to them to aid in the processing of your claims; however, you are ultimately responsible for the charges incurred at our office. If the insurance payment has not been made within 60 days from the date of service, you will be asked to make payment on the outstanding portion of your account. If I receive insurance payment after this time, I will reimburse you or apply the credit to your account.
Amaluna is in-network with United Healthcare, Aetna, Cigna, Providence, and Harvard Pilgrim Health.
Amaluna Acupuncture & Wellness abides by strict HIPAA guidelines so that all your information is securely stored and encrypted in the cloud. Amaluna does not retain any paper records. Read HIPAA privacy policies.
Yes. However, I recommend you not engage in any vigorous exercise immediately after treatment. You will feel your best if you rest and take it easy for a few hours. You may return to work, but keep in mind you might feel a little sleepy or spacey for up to an hour after your treatment. Alternately, some people feel very energized and focused. For more information on what to expect after your appointment see: What To Expect.
Your appointment time is reserved exclusively for you. I require 24 hours notice to cancel or reschedule an appointment. I understand this is not always possible, so for your first missed appointment, the cost of your treatment is waived as a courtesy. For any future missed or canceled appointments with less than 24 hours notice, you will be charged the full cost of the appointment.
Dry needling is a term used to allow healthcare professionals without an acupuncture license to practice acupuncture techniques. An acupuncture license requires thousands of hours of training and rigorous board exams. Physical therapists or chiropractors see the value in acupuncture but are not trained to practice it. They may take a short workshop or seminar (in some cases only 24 hours) that allows them to include “dry needling” in their scope of practice.
Dry needling is the placement of acupuncture needles into trigger points. Trigger points are locations within a muscle belly, which often cause radiating pain. By inserting needles at these points, the muscle releases and relieves the associated pain. Acupuncturists are trained to do dry needling, as well as many other techniques designed to relieve pain and treat the entire body. Acupuncture is much wider in scope with many more applications than dry needling. If you are interested in trying dry needling for pain, the safest option is a licensed acupuncturist. Schedule an appointment with me today here.
For more information, see Dry Needling Vs. Acupuncture.
When I feel your pulse, I am feeling for much more than just the rate. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the pulses indicate the state of the internal organs. The theory is that your internal organs each have a unique resonance that can be felt in your pulse. The organs are mapped onto different positions on each wrist as a microsystem of the body (more on microsystems and fractals here). I feel for 6 different positions (3 on each side) and three depths (superficial, mid, and deep) on each position. I am looking at rate, strength, depth, and quality of the pulse. This takes several minutes and helps me reach an accurate diagnosis as well as track your improvement.
I look at the tongue to get a sense of your internal state. Your tongue is full of information! Different areas of the tongue relate to different areas of the body (microsystem). I look at the shape, color, coating, texture, and any lines or cracks. I also look at the veins underneath your tongue (a fun trick to try: if the veins under your tongue are dark and distended TCM views this as a sign of stagnation or stuck energy. If you notice this about the underside of your tongue, go jog, or exercise with some intensity and check your tongue when you finish— the veins should look smaller and lighter! Stagnation and stuck energy now moved!) The chart below gives some possible symptoms based on your tongue.